Jassa Singh Ramgarhia

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Jassa Singh Ramgarhia
Statue Jassa Singh.jpg
Statue of Jassa Singh Ramgarhia
Born 1723
Died 1803 (aged 79–80)
Known for leader of Ramgarhia Misl
Successor Jodh Singh who ceded his territories to Maharaja Ranjit Singh

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia (1723–1803) was a prominent Sikh leader during the period of the Sikh Confederacy. He was the Commander of the Ramgarhia Misl (or Confederacy). Detailed accounts of his life vary.

Early life[edit]

Jassa Singh Ramgarhia was born in 1723. According to W. H. McLeod,[1] his birthplace was the village of Ichogil, near Lahore, whilst H. S. Singha[2] refers only to Lahore and Purnima Dhavan[3] mentions origins in either Guga or Sur Singh, both near Amritsar. There is agreement among the sources that he was of Tarkhan origin and was originally named Jassa Singh Thokar. (Jassa Singh the Carpenter),[1][a] but Dhavan also refers to Jat ethnicity.[3] He had four brothers - Jai Singh, Khushal Singh, Mali Singh and Tara Singh - and became head of the family when his father, Giani Bhagwan Singh, died.[4][page needed]


Jassa Singh rose to command the Sikh misl that became later known as Ramgarhia and built a mud fort called Ram Rauni at Amritsar. He joined forces with Adina Beg, who appointed him a risaldar (commander), but switched sides when asked by him to attack the fort during the Siege of Ram Rauni. He defended it against Adina Beg's siege and, in 1752, rebuilt the damaged fort. The edifice was renamed Ramgarh, from which he took his new name.[1][5][b]

Jassa Singh's policies were in contrast to those of other misl leaders and he eventually lost his lands north of Amritsar to that of the Kahnaiya. Thereafter, he turned his attention to the area around the Jamna river and Delhi, briefly holding control of the latter.[1]

Purnima Dhavan says that "Jassa Singh Ramgarhia appeared to have a shrewd grasp of realpolitik, relying equally on diplomatic persuasion and martial prowess to accomplish his goals.  ... [His] supporters appear to have valued his political acumen, plain-spoken behaviour, and simple if rough ways".[5]

He died in 1803 and was succeeded by his son, Jodh Singh, who ceded his territories to Ranjit Singh.[1]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ The traditional occupation of the Tarkhan people was that of carpentry.[2]
  2. ^ The suffix -garh is translated as fort.


  1. ^ a b c d e McLeod, W. H. (2005) [1995]. Historical Dictionary of Sikhism (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 102. ISBN 0-8108-5088-5. 
  2. ^ a b Singha, H. S. (2005) [2000]. The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (2nd ed.). Hemkunt. p. 111. ISBN 81-7010-301-0. 
  3. ^ a b Dhavan, Purnima (2011). When Sparrows Became Hawks: The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799. USA: OUP USA. p. 60. ISBN 0199756554. 
  4. ^ Warrior-diplomat: Jassa Singh Ramgarhia - Harbans Singh Virdi
  5. ^ a b Dhavan, Purnima (2011). When Sparrows Became Hawks: The Making of the Sikh Warrior Tradition, 1699-1799. USA: OUP USA. p. 81. ISBN 0199756554. 

Further reading[edit]

  • "The heritage of the Sikhs" by Harbans Singh
  • Singh, Khushwant (1991). A History of the Sikhs, Volume 1: 1469-1839. Oxford University Press. pp. 134, 140, 160, 178–181. 
  • The Sikh Commonwealth or Rise and Fall of Sikh Misls. (Date:2001, revised edition. ISBN 81-215-0165-2)